These days, many couples choose to have a smaller wedding and reception. Not only does this often save on cost, but with only the closest of friends and family sharing…
Written by Paula Jones Last updated: October 25, 2006
St. Mary the Virgin in Mirfield
De Vere Oulton Hall, Leeds
How and when did you meet?
We met in 1999 when he joined the firm I worked for as part of the graduate intake. It took a little while, but we got together that Christmas
How old are you both?
I’m 29 and he’s 28.
Where, when and how did he (or you!) propose?
He proposed in June 2005 in Cyprus. We went to the amphitheatre at Kourion, overlooking the sea, where he produced a gorgeous diamond ring he’d been hiding! We then had a fabulous week’s holiday before telling everyone when we got home.
Did you have hen and stag celebrations? If so, what did you do?
I had a half day’s pampering at a spa in Harrogate with my three of my four bridesmaids, then a night out in Leeds at Jongleurs comedy club, moving on to Oceana and some very cheesy dancing! Fairy wings were required dress. He had a night in Nottingham. During the day they went to the Go Ape! Treetop assault course, then went out in Nottingham at night.
How did your groom help with the wedding planning?
He was a massive help and got involved in just about every decision, even the flowers! We made most of the stationery for the day together, we went and saw suppliers together, and he coped admirably with my rising stress levels!
Did you use confetti to plan your wedding? If so, how did the website help you?
I used the forums a lot to get recommendations for suppliers and to let off steam!
Do you have a confetti web page?
Did you buy any confetti products for your wedding? If so, did you visit a store, buy online or by mail order?
Yes, we ordered the personalised ribbon online, which we wrapped the favour boxes in. We also bought a teddy for our page boy from the website, and thank you cards and a white umbrella from the Leeds store.
Tell us about your outfit, and where you bought it
I wore a Maggie Sottero dress, Celine, which I absolutely loved – it was a very simple A-line dress with a corset back and a fair amount of Swarovski crystals. I borrowed my tiara from a colleague of my mum’s, which was so kind of her – it was Swarovski crystals on silver wire, very delicate. My shoes were from BHS, and my mum and I made my veil, sewing more crystals on it round the hem and scattered across the fabric. My garter was from La Senza, and mum sewed on a blue and white flower from the outfit her mum wore to her wedding.
Did you have bridesmaids? If so, who did you choose and what did they wear?
I had four bridesmaids. The youngest was my cousin’s 16 year old daughter, who I’ve always been very close to. Two were girls who trained with me in my first job (although we’ve all moved on to better things!) and the fourth was a friend my husband and I met at an evening class! They wore deep purple, silk, strapless tops and A-line skirts. The tops had a cuff across the top which were all hand beaded, using the same beads but in a different pattern for each girl. Mum made all the dresses, which was a godsend! They each had a purple pashmina with beaded fringes, and they wore silver shoes they chose themselves.
Who did your groom choose for his best man and ushers, and what did they wear?
His best man was his brother, Dave. The ushers were four friends from school, who are now scattered all over the country. They wore grey tail suits, which looked fantastic. The ushers and best man wore white cravats and waistcoats, while Rich had a white waistcoat with silver bits, and a purple cravat and hanky made from the bridesmaid dresses’ fabric. Our pageboy was our two year old nephew, Thomas, who wore striped grey trousers, a wing collar shirt and a white cravat and waistcoat from BHS, along with a big pink gerbera buttonhole, and he looked fantastic!
Did you have a civil or religious ceremony?
We had a religious ceremony in the church near my parents’ house. The highlight was the brass band which played all the hymns and music in church, and then played at the reception.
Where did you hold your ceremony?
St. Mary the Virgin in Mirfield.
Where did you hold your reception?
De Vere Oulton Hall, Leeds.
Did you have any special wedding transport?
We hired a Bentley Mk VI, a beautiful cream car with gorgeous running boards, and the chauffeur did it all up in matching purple ribbon!
How many guests did you invite to your wedding, and did you have a separate evening guest list?
100 to the day, plus another 10 or so at night.
Did your reception have a particular theme in terms of colour or style?
We stuck to the deep purple of the dresses with hints of the deep pink flowers.
How did you incorporate this in to your table settings?
Place cards were hand embroidered by his mum, in the purples and pinks. Each had an individual menu reflecting what the guest had chosen. The table centres were goldfish bowls wrapped with bear grass, with either stargazer lilies or pink gerberas floating in the middle (my bouquet had stargazers, and the buttonholes were gerberas).
Did you give your guests favours?
Yes – a small silver box wrapped in the purple personalised ribbon from confetti, with two Thornton’s chocolates in – my husband and I each picked our favourites!
Describe your flowers (bouquets and table decorations). Who was your florist?
My florist was Dianne Penny, and she was wonderful! My bouquet was a teardrop shape, and was made with stargazer lilies, pink freesia, purple lisianthus, and stephanotis. It was fabulous and smelled amazing! The bridesmaids had hand tied bouquets of deep pink gerberas, wrapped in purple fabric from their dresses. The buttonholes were deep pink gerberas, and the ladies had corsages to match their outfits. The deep pink colours looked amazing against the deep purple bridesmaid dresses. Table centres were either gerberas or stargazers, in goldfish bowls, and looked brilliant
What did you choose to have on your menu? Did you have an outside caterer or did your venue handle the catering?
The venue did the catering. We started with seasonal vegetable soup with chive cream, which sounds dull but was delicious! We had either roast duck with red onion marmalade and cider cream sauce, or red pearl onion tartlet with tomato salsa and asparagus for a main, with lots of roast potatoes. Desert was strawberries and cream, and then we had a cheeseboard for each table. We had a buffet in the evening
What did you choose for your wedding cake, and who made it?
A friend of my mum’s made both cakes. We had a three tiered fruit cake, which Richard helped choose. We also had a small sponge cake with a personalised cake topper of us and our two cats, which was a surprise for Richard on the day.
Did you have any entertainment during the day or evening?
A brass band played in church and during the drinks reception, which was magic for me – I grew up playing in brass bands. The music wafted across the lawn in the sunshine whilst the guests mingled with their drinks and chatted, and we have lovely video of some of the children dancing round the pathways in time to the music! We also had a DJ in the evening.
Did you have a gift list? If so, who did you have your list with?
We had a list with John Lewis, which was mostly vouchers, as we wanted a dining table and chairs.
Where did you spend your first night and honeymoon? Who did you book your honeymoon with?
The first night was at the reception hotel, which was lovely. We went on honeymoon on the Sunday, to Las Vegas, LA, San Francisco and Hawaii. We booked with Thomas Cook.
What was your most memorable moment of the day?
Walking down the church path towards the gate with my new husband, watching the ushers playing with the bubble machine and everyone waiting for us with confetti – I’ve never felt so happy.
Did you experience any ‘nightmare’ moments in the run up to your wedding or on the day?
All kinds of small disasters, including the honeymoon tickets not turning up until the night before, and one family member coming down with really bad flu. My mum also had an accident with her original outfit, which disintegrated when ironed, so we had to have a very speedy second shopping trip!
Is there anything you would do differently, or any advice you would give to other brides?
Do as much as possible yourself – there are mountains of people out there who are happy to charge you a fortune to make stationery, bake cakes, sew veils, and all the rest of it. Apply some common sense! And don’t worry about things going wrong on the day – the chances are they either won’t, or you won’t know about it!